LP gas is a widely accepted abbreviation of liquefied petroleum gas. It is also referred to as propane and butane. It is in fact a flammable mix of various hydrocarbon gasses which can be used in heating, refrigeration, cooking and in vehicles as a fuel. It is replacing chlorofluorocarbons in aerosols in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
There are a variety of LP gas mixtures sold.
- High propane mixes
- High butane mixes
- Propane and butane combinations.
This last variety differs depending on the season. The mix tends to contain more propane in winter and more butane in summer. In addition to the pure gasses there will be small amounts of propylene, butylene and other hydrocarbons in the mixture. In order to make leaks more noticeable, an odorant, most often ethanethiol, is added to the mix.
LP gas is a derivative of refined petroleum and is classified as a natural gas. This means that there is a limited supply of LP gas in the world though this supply is more plentiful than the present crude oil supply.
LP gas is seen as a cleaner fuel source when compared with electricity and conventional vehicle fuels. The average calorific value is 46.1 MJ/kg while conventional automotive fuel is in the lower ranges of 40 MJ/kg. it does have a lower energy density than conventional automotive fuel.
It is possible for large amounts of LP gas to be stored in a metal cylinder. It is imperative that these cylinders are inspected on a regular basis for signs of pending failure. The pressure valves and safety valves should also be inspected regularly and replace immediately if any signs of wear and tear are detected.
LP gas is a far more cost effective fuel than many others on the market, however, it does need to be treated with respect as it is highly flammable and is stored under high pressures. Sudden release of these pressures can be quite explosive and endanger those in the vicinity.